Keeping your mobility team in shape: 3 lessons from pro sports

By Jasmine Henry

It’s not all about the technology; your team is just as critical to advancing enterprise mobility. Though there’s little question that the enterprise mobility landscape is filled with challenges, C-level executives are wise to recognize their role for what it is — a mission-critical part of the organization.

As a C-level exec, you know the business world is a fierce place. Between pressure to compete and talent shortages, it makes sense to think like someone who has one of the most high-pressure jobs in the world: the general manager (GM) of a professional sports team.

What your mobility team can learn from pro sports

A 2017 Apperian survey found that the complexity of the mobile landscape is a challenge facing 55 percent of executives. Thirty percent struggle with a lack of budget, while 13 percent cite a lack of talent as a barrier.

But pro athletes are no strangers to obstacles.

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it or work around it,” basketball legend Michael Jordan told Forbes. These words carry weight for enterprise mobility teams, too. Conditioning your mobility team might not involve a grueling spring training camp, but it has a few other things in common with professional athletics.

1. Upgrade even when you’re winning

The 2013–14 season left the Golden State Warriors with a 51-31 record. Though that’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of, the team wasn’t satisfied and decided to proactively upgrade across the board. AchieveIt reports that the team rebooted their culture, hired a new GM and recruited a new coach and players. By the 2015–16 season, the Warriors set a league record of 73 wins and 9 losses.

A similarly proactive approach to managing your mobile team can be beneficial. Rollouts for new mobile applications might ensure you’ve got a hold on both potential legacy technology issues and the budget to maintain your new technology. Although post-app technologies such as chatbots and virtual assistants might seem like a far-off possibility, these technologies are becoming available sooner than you might think. Researchers estimate that 52 percent of enterprises are experimenting with bots, chatbots and virtual assistants. Upgrading your technology proactively might take your enterprise from a strong record to true championship status.

2. Condition your team for the fourth quarter

The New England Patriots take their cardiovascular fitness seriously. Indeed, NBC Sports reports both coaches and players spend summer training camps running seriously strenuous, 60-yard man-made hills. These drills represent valuable enterprise mobility lessons.

Your technical team’s conditioning might not matter until the fourth quarter of a tough game, which plays out in the enterprise as a post-holiday rush in customer demand or an information security incident. You won’t encounter these incidents daily, but it will pay to be prepared. The best time for disaster recovery planning — including identifying a backup solution and arranging backup support with third-party vendors — is today, before it becomes a necessity.

3. Focus personnel decisions on collaborative ability

“When it comes to hiring,” GM Sandy Alderson of the New York Mets says, “you’re always taking a gamble.” Defending his decision to hire a former pitching coach in an interview with the NY Daily News, Alderson cited the coach’s willingness to collaborate with players and front office members as his tipping point.

Ultimately, the success of your mobility team will be defined by your ability to serve your customers, both internal and external. The challenges of understanding internal customers’ needs are only heightened in today’s enterprise, where colleagues are increasingly mobile-first and remote. Though personnel decisions are always challenging, there’s value in promoting the mobile team players who understand the needs of technical and business peers.

Pro athletes might be born with some genetic advantages, but their abilities are bolstered by good, old-fashioned hard work and strong leadership. Leaders who understand the value of upgrading technology aggressively, conditioning for worst-case scenarios and cross-functional collaboration might be able to steal some advantages employed by the most successful pro sports teams and athletes.

Written By

Jasmine Henry

Jasmine E. Henry, MS

Jasmine is a commentator on emerging technology and freelance writer in the greater Seattle area. With a professional background in analytics, big data, mobility, and security that spans both the for-profit and government sectors, her professional interests include artificial intelligence…

Other Articles by Jasmine Henry
See All Posts